|Publication number||US6994544 B2|
|Application number||US 10/769,093|
|Publication date||Feb 7, 2006|
|Filing date||Jan 30, 2004|
|Priority date||Jan 30, 2004|
|Also published as||US20050167899|
|Publication number||10769093, 769093, US 6994544 B2, US 6994544B2, US-B2-6994544, US6994544 B2, US6994544B2|
|Inventors||David M. Aldridge, Lonnie D. Mitchell, Joseph L. Roedig|
|Original Assignee||Texas Instruments Incorporated|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (5), Classifications (10), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates generally to carriers for chip-scale devices, also referred to as wafer scale packaging (WSP) devices or as WSP chips, and also relates to techniques for rapid, efficient thermal testing and/or thermal cycling of WSP chips.
Thermal testing and/or cycling of a batch of WSP chips ordinarily is accomplished by placing a large number of WSP chips in a conventional plastic carrier, placing the carrier in a thermal chamber, and either heating the chamber and/or passing a heated gas or liquid medium through the chamber. For temperature cycling, typically the carrier and the WSP chips therein are alternately subjected to “hot baths” and “cold baths” of gas or liquid medium to provide rapid thermal ramp-up times and thermal ramp-down times. A typical liquid used for this purpose is “FLUORINERT”, which is commercially available from 3M Corporation. A typical inert gas used as a thermal medium is nitrogen.
One prior art chip carrier, part number H20-130-2462-C02 available from Entregris Corporation, is shown in
The Entregris chip carrier product of
Other conventional chip carriers typically are also made of plastic material. None of the unknown chip carriers are well-suited for supporting WSP chips during the thermal testing and/or thermal cycling that usually is a requirement for a semiconductor manufacturer to meet the “qualification” standards for each product that most large customers require to be met before they will purchase the product.
There are additional reasons that cause conventional fixturing mechanisms and devices, such as the above described Entregris chip carrier, to be unsuitable for performing thermal stress test sequences and thermal cycling on small devices such as WSP chips. Presently available fixturing mechanisms such as chip support trays do not adequately support WSP chips under test, and do not allow proper flow of gas or liquid thermal mediums around the WSP chips to be thermally tested or thermally cycled.
Also, the thermal mass of the prior art chip support fixturing devices or trays is so large that it greatly reduces the rate at which the WSP chips attain the desired temperatures. This has prevented the desired amount of thermal shock specified by the above-mentioned qualification standards from being applied to the WSP chips, because most of the thermal energy from the thermal medium is being transferred between the thermal medium and the prior art carriers, rather than between the thermal medium and the chips. Furthermore, most of the thermal energy involved in the thermal cycling, has been wasted.
Also, the prior art plastic chip carriers tend to warp or be physically deformed due to mismatches in temperature expansion coefficients of the materials, and the resulting stretching, flexing, etc. of the materials when subjected to increased temperatures may interfere with the ability of the carriers to adequately hold the WSP chips, and may displace them from the carrier cavities in which the WSP chips are intended to be supported. Such displacement of a WSP chip may result in damage to it while it is in a thermal testing or thermal cycling chamber. The damage may include chipping of edges of the chip and/or damage to the chip metallization (especially to solder bumps that are used for external electrical contact to the chip metallization), causing rejection and loss of the chip at the functional testing stage.
Thus, there is an unmet need for a fixturing mechanism capable of reliably containing and supporting WSP chips and like to be tested, wherein the fixturing mechanism allows a thermal gas or liquid medium to readily and uniformly flow around the WSP chips under test.
There also is an unmet need for a thermal stress fixture that does not damage WSP chips therein.
There also is an unmet need for a thermal stress fixture that allows fast temperature ramp-up and fast temperature ramp-down during thermal stress cycling.
There also is an unmet need for a thermal stress fixture that avoids waste of thermal energy during thermal stress testing and/or thermal cycling.
There also is an unmet need for a thermal stress fixture that avoids damage to semiconductor chips due to out-gassing of substances from materials of which the thermal stress fixture is composed.
Accordingly, is an object of the invention to provide a fixturing mechanism and method that are capable of reliably containing and supporting WSP chips and like to be tested that also allow a thermal gas or liquid medium to directly contact the WSP chips under test and readily and uniformly flow around the WSP chips under test.
It is another object of the invention to provide a thermal stress fixture that does not damage WSP chips therein.
It is another object of invention to provide a thermal stress fixture that allows fast temperature ramp-up and fast temperature ramp-down during thermal stress cycling.
It is another object of the invention to provide a thermal stress fixture that avoids waste of thermal energy during thermal stress testing and/or thermal cycling of semiconductor chips.
It is another object of invention to provide a thermal stress fixture that avoids damage to semiconductor chips due to out-gassing of substances from materials of which the thermal stress fixture is composed.
Briefly described, and in accordance with one embodiment, the present invention provides a fixture for supporting a plurality of semiconductor chips during the thermal stressing and/or cycling of the chips, including a gas-permeable and liquid-permeable bottom screen, a chip-cavity-defining plate supported against a top surface of the bottom screen, a lower attaching mechanism for attaching the chip-cavity-defining plate to the top surface of the bottom screen, and a removable gas-permeable and liquid-permeable top screen attached to a top surface of the chip-cavity-defining plate to cover the plurality of holes and chips therein. In the described embodiment, the fixture (100) includes a fluid-permeable bottom screen (20), a chip-cavity-defining plate (22) disposed against a top surface of the bottom screen (20), the chip-cavity-defining plate having a plurality of holes (24) therein, a fluid-permeable top screen (40), and a removable mounting flange (30) attached to a bottom surface of the top screen (40) for holding the top screen against a top surface of the chip-cavity-defining-plate (22) to cover the plurality of holes (24) and chips (10) therein. The top screen, bottom screen and the plurality of holes in the chip-cavity-defining plate form a plurality of cavities for containing a plurality of semiconductor chips, respectively. In the described embodiment, a bottom surface of the chip-cavity-defining plate (22) is adhesively attached to the top surface of the bottom screen (20), and a top surface of the mounting flange is adhesively attached to a bottom surface of the top screen. The top screen and bottom screen are composed of pre-tensioned stainless deal screen mesh.
According to the method of the invention, the semiconductor chips (10) are thermally cycled by supporting them in a the fixture, wherein the fixture has very low thermal mass. The semiconductor chips (10) are placed in various cavities (24) defined by the holes (24) in the bottom screen (20) and the chip-cavity-defining plate, and a subassembly including the top screen (40) and the chip-cavity-defining plate (22) is placed on a subassembly including the bottom plate and the chip-cavity-defining plate to cover the cavities (24) and the chips (10) therein. The fixture (100) with the chips (10) therein is placed in a thermal cycling device (50). The semiconductor chips are thermally stressed and/or thermally cycled by passing a fluid thermal medium of a predetermined temperature through the top screen (40), around the semiconductor chips (10), and through the bottom screen (20).
A plurality of fixtures (100) are made by adhesively attaching bottom surfaces of a plurality of chip-cavity-defining plates (22) to a surface of taut pre-tensioned fluid-permeable screen material stretched over a tensioning frame to form a plurality of bottom subassemblies having chip cavities into the which semiconductor chips can be placed. The top surfaces of a plurality of mounting flanges (30) are adhesively attached to a surface of the taut pre-tensioned fluid-permeable screen material to form a plurality of top subassemblies which can be aligned with and attached to the bottom subassemblies, respectively, to provide covers over the cavities and semiconductor chips therein during the thermal cycling.
Referring to the exploded view of
Tray 22 includes a pair of clearance openings 25 along each of its four edges, and a pair of screws 26 extends through the clearance holes 25, respectively, and through corresponding clearance holes 29 through bottom screen 20 which are respectively aligned with clearance holes 25 of tray 22. The threaded portions of screws 26 engage threaded holes 27 in four tabs 28 located on the bottom surface of bottom screen 20. Screws 26 thus hold tray 22 against the upper surface of bottom screen 20.
A generally rectangular mounting flange 30 is disposed around the upper edge surfaces of tray 22. Mounting flange 30 can be composed of the same aluminum material as tray 22 and can have the same thickness as tray 22. A generally rectangular top screen 40 composed of the same stainless steel mesh as bottom screen 20 is disposed on the upper surface of frame 30. A clearance hole 32 extends through the central portion of each side of frame 30. Four screws 34 extend upward through a hole 35 in each of the four tabs 28, through the four holes 32 of frame 30, respectively, and through corresponding holes 41 in the edges of top screen 40. Four knurled nuts 37 engage the threads of screws 34 and draw top screen 40 and frame 30 against the subassembly including tray 22 and bottom screen 20.
The above-mentioned stainless steel screen material is shipped by the manufacturer tightly pre-tensioned over a tensioning frame. To construct the bottom subassembly 20,22, a suitable glue or adhesive, such as EPOTEK B9114-2 glue, is applied to the bottom surface of the trays 22, which are then placed on the taut screen material while it is still tightly stretched on the tensioning frame. After curing for 24 hours at +25 degrees Celsius followed by 2 hours at +150 degrees Celsius followed by 30 minutes at +200 and degrees Celsius, the screen material is cut along the edges of the trays 22, and the four tabs 28 are attached to the bottom edges of each bottom subassembly 20,22 by means of small screws 26 extending through clearance holes 25 of tray 22 into threaded holds 27 in tabs 27. Four screws 34 are threaded through holes 35 in the four tabs 28 and extend upward alongside the outer edges of the tray 22 to complete bottom subassembly 20,22. Alternatively, however, clips could be used instead of all the above mentioned screws, and other adhesive material, such as latex rubber compound, could be used instead of glue.
Similarly, the top subassembly 30,40 is formed by applying the adhesive to the top surfaces of a number of frames 30 and placing them on the taut framed screen material. After curing, the top screen 40 of each top subassembly 30,40 is cut along the outer edges of its mounting flange 30. Using a vacuum pencil (not shown), individual WSP chips can (
The top 55A of movable carriage 55 includes a peripheral lip 64 that engages a corresponding surface of a ledge 62,68 to form a “door” that maintains a thermal seal between hot chamber 53 and cold chamber 52 when movable carriage 55 is lowered all the way into cold chamber 52. Similarly, the bottom 55B of movable carriage 55 includes a peripheral lip 66 that engages a corresponding surface of ledge 62,68 to form another door that maintains a thermal seal between hot chamber 53 and cold chamber 52 when movable carriage 55 is raised all the way into hot chamber 53. The ramping times that the thermal stress fixtures and the WSP chips therein experience is a function of the thermal mass and other properties of the two chambers 52 and 53. The controller 44 can cause movable carried 55 to move from one chamber to the other hand seal the two chambers from each other in approximately 7 seconds. There is a small fan (not shown) in each chamber that keeps the thermal medium, such as nitrogen, moving so that it flows through the thermal stress fixtures 100 and provides rapid three minute ramping times between the temperature extremes that are preset as inputs to controller 44. Thermal stress chamber 50 is commercially available from Blue M Corporation.
Thermal stress chamber 50 includes a controller 44 that allows the upper temperature, the lower temperature, and the number of cycles to be manually set.
The structure of the described embodiment of the invention is relatively simple and is easily fabricated using readily available materials. No complex machining/forming operations are required, nor is any special tooling required in order to produce the described WSP chip support fixture. The low thermal mass and rapid thermal transfer characteristics of the described fixtures result in short temperature ramp-up and temperature ramp-down times. Furthermore, by varying the depths and/or diameters of the cavities 24, various WSP chips can be thermally tested and/or thermally cycled using the same fixturing equipment, including support fixtures, chip loading/unloading equipment, etc.
Thus, the invention provides a simple, economical way to restrain and protect small chips, chip-scale devices, and the like under test conditions during thermal cycling in either or both gas and liquid thermal test mediums. The invention provides minimal restriction of the thermal fluid medium flow around the WSP chips, thereby enhancing the thermal transfer process due to lack of restriction by providing rapid, thermal transfer between the WSP chips and the medium, and also provides a substantial reduction in the thermal mass of the fixture which allows rapid thermal ramp-up and ramp-down times.
While the invention has been described with reference to several particular embodiments thereof, those skilled in the art will be able to make various modifications to the described embodiments of the invention without departing from its true spirit and scope. It is intended that all elements or steps which are insubstantially different from those recited in the claims but perform substantially the same functions, respectively, in substantially the same way to achieve the same result as what is claimed are within the scope of the invention. For example, a the thermal stress fixture 100 of the present invention might be used in a commercially available “purge and surge” single thermal chamber system instead of the system shown in
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|U.S. Classification||432/247, 432/253, 118/728, 118/725|
|International Classification||G01R31/28, F27D5/00, G01R1/04|
|Cooperative Classification||G01R1/04, G01R31/2863|
|Jan 30, 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: TEXAS INSRUMENTS INCORPORATED, TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ALDRIDGE, DAVID M.;MITCHELL, LONNIE D.;ROEDIG, JOSEPH L.;REEL/FRAME:014952/0444;SIGNING DATES FROM 20040121 TO 20040127
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